National Science Foundation vindicates Michael Mann

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Carbon steel “hockey stick” stronger than ever

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of the Inspector General, having conducted a thorough review and investigation into all allegations of impropriety or scientific misconduct against Penn State University Prof. Michael Mann, has dismissed all of those allegations for lack of evidence and closed the case (attached and/or here).

As reported by Joe Romm at Climate Progress, Mann has been the target of a host of allegations and attacks, many arising out of the iconic status of a graph (inset) that he created in a 1998 paper with Raymond Bradley and Malcolm Hughes, and others sourced in the emails that hackers stole in 2009 from the the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

As the NSF now reports, none of Mann’s critics ever showed the courage or conviction of actually laying a formal complaint before Penn State, where Mann is director of the Earth System Science Center. But the allegations were so prominent in the blogosphere and in mainstream media that the university took it upon itself to conduct an investigation. The NSF then reviewed Penn State’s exculpatory findings, duplicating some parts of the investigation in greater detail.

The result? No shred of evidence exists to impugn Mann’s work.

As Romm points out, the central conclusion drawn from the Hockey Stick – that temperatures, stable for a thousand years, have spiked dramatically since humans began using fossil fuels – is also being confirmed with each new study. It appears that, unless you are willfully blind or directly in the employ of the fossil fuel industry, the evidence – of climate change, as well as of Mann’s scientific bona fides – is undeniable.

This is not likely to stop people like David Legates from continuing to misrepresent the contents of the East Anglia emails, nor would it be profitable to expect newpapers like the National Post or Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal to actually apologize to Mann and others or to make any other effort to correct the record. But for anyone who clicks past the imagined reality peddled by those papers, the conclusion is clear – and is now confirmed by one of the largest and most credible funders of scientific research in the world. The Hockey Stick is unbroken.

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